Thursday, June 17, 2010

Good Curling

Happy Friday! Happy weekend! Whew! It has been really HOT here in North Carolina this past week. What better way to spend a hot day than hanging out in an ice rink. Mom and Dad had a curling match Sunday, so some of my friends and I thought it would be cool (hehehe, how punny!) to tag along. Who knows? Maybe I could become the first feline to make it to the Olympics!
The ride up to the ice rink was a little over an hour. Malcolm only made us stop once to get something to eat – the usual twin buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken. I think the only reason he came along was because he found out there was a snack bar at the rink. I had heard it wasn’t a good idea to eat a big meal before participating in physical activity. I tried to explain that to Malcolm, but as usual he didn’t want to hear it. He had most of one bucket gone before we arrived at the rink.
The rink was in a big complex with an ice cream store, a sports bar and grill and several shops. We were pretty impressed. Mom had to talk to one of the big wigs in the curling club to see if they minded if critters joined the group. They were very nice and welcomed us with open arms.
The first thing we had to do was get a crash course in the art of curling. It is an old game with many traditions. The team consists of four creatures. The creature who goes first is the lead, the creature who goes second is …..the second, the creature who goes third is the vice and the last creature to throw is the skip. Everyone has a unique responsibility. The leads of both teams meet for the coin toss. Rocky volunteered to be the lead. I think it was because he liked the shiny quarter and he wanted to bat it about after the toss was over.

Cali called cat tails as it was in the air. It was tails! The winner of the coin toss had to make the decision if their team wanted to pick the color stones they would throw, or if they would throw the last stone – the “hammer”. Cali picked the hammer, so the other team was allowed to pick which color stones they would throw. Since I was on his team and he is a gentleman, Rocky asked me what color I liked. I rushed over and grabbed a red stone. I wish someone had told me you don’t have to pick up the stone. They are heavy!!! Bobbi ran to my rescue so that I wouldn’t drop it on my foot.

The second, which was my position, was responsible for keeping score, the third acted as skip when the skip was throwing and the skip got to yell at everyone through the whole match. I guess that’s why all the good players were the skips. They were experienced and had earned the right to scream at the others.
Before the stone throwing began, we shook hands with the other team and told them “Good curling.” Then it was time for the fun to begin. I knew sliding a 40 lbs rock wouldn’t be easy, and my paws sliding on the ice wouldn’t make it any easier. I was pleasantly surprised that the ice wasn’t very slippery. Imagine that! After the zamboni does its thing, some curling club members go around with water tanks sprinkling drops of water all over the ice. It leaves little bumps on the ice that makes it less slippery.
The point of the game is to get as many rocks as close to the “button” as possible. Your fellow team members sweep in front of the rock to help melt the ice so the rock will go farther. Malcolm told me he was NOT sweeping anything for anyone anytime. Guess he has an aversion to housework.

Only one team gets to score, so you have to keep the other team’s rocks away at the same time you’re trying to get yours close. In the picture above, Cali and I are both red and closest to the button. Red would score two points. It’s very much a strategy game, so I should be a whiz at it! If only the rocks didn’t move around so fast…
The nice curling club people let us have our own sheet to play on. We started out very orderly and sedate and then our natural instincts kicked in and we were no longer curling but rather chasing and jumping on the rocks. We just couldn’t help it! Even Bobbi got into it and was having a blast riding around on a rock. It turned into a sort of bumper car/jousting thing – not pretty, but lots of fun. We would sit on the rocks and use the brooms to push ourselves along. Lucy wasn’t interested in riding the rocks. She just loved to run, then throw herself down and slide on her belly. She did it over and over and over again, mewing with glee every time she hit the ice!

We were busy having fun and didn’t notice the crowd gathering to watch us. When I happened to glance to the side I saw Mom and Dad and all their curling friends just standing, brooms in hand, watching in disbelief. Mom shook her head and started toward us. Oh no! Here comes a scolding!! She bent down and gave me a kiss on the nose and told me she was glad we were having so much fun, but we needed to tone it down a bit – others were trying to concentrate. Well, that wasn’t so bad. We could do that. For the rest of the time we quietly pushed each other around on the rocks, having races and trying to knock each other off.
We were disappointed when the group’s time on the ice was up. Mom told us we needed to help put all the stones away. Sure! If it involved pushing stones we were on it! We had fun helping to round up all the stones and push them to the side so they could be put in a storage bin. Bobbi really couldn’t push the stones very good and she was very tired, so Rocky said she could ride on his back. How nice – I told you he was a gentleman! Lucy was still throwing herself on the ice and sliding past us. She just couldn’t get enough!

Malcolm’s tummy wasn’t feeling well from all the eating and subsequent exertion. He thought maybe getting started on the second bucket of chicken might help. I told him he better not upchuck in my parents’ car or he would never be invited anywhere ever again. He mumbled something nasty and bit into a chicken leg.
We stopped at the sports bar for a drink and a nosh, much to Malcolm’s delight. We couldn’t stay long because we had a long drive home and some of my friends had to get home to their families. We said goodbye to our fellow curlers and headed to the car.
Everyone but Dad napped on the way home – Dad was driving, so that was a good thing. A trip goes very fast when you nap, so we were home in no time. Lucy and Rocky’s families picked them up at my house and Cali, Malcolm and Bobbi went their separate ways to wherever it is they live.
That night I had a dream… I was in the Olympics and making an important shot….

I woke up before the match was over so I don’t know if my team won. I think we did!
I could just picture myself up on the podium receiving the gleaming gold medal. I like shiny!
Well, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. It’s Father’s Day so I’ll have to do something special for my Dad. He takes such good care of me and lets me lick his face. He’s very special. Make sure and do something nice for your Dad!

Love & licks,


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